Next summer, many of us will be glued to re-broadcasts of the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan. As an aside, some of us will be wondering if Utah will host the Winter Olympics again. Last year, Salt Lake City received approval to bid once more for the games. We liked having the world visiting our state. KSL Channel 5 reported that the 2002 Games "were among the most lucrative ever staged and official state estimates of the economic impact showed $100 million in profits, $4.8 billion in sales, 35,000 job years of employment and $1.5 billion in earnings for Utah workers during 2002." Because the cost of putting on the athletics showcase is insanely expensive, promoters are looking to hold future games at host cities that already have the infrastructure in place. I always thought Utah was a perfect selection for the games because 1. It has such great winter sports areas already, and 2. It has a bazillion missionaries and returned missionaries who speak most of the languages of the world. The callout for volunteers was amazing and posts filled up almost instantly with eager Utahns.
The only Olympics I've ever attended were the 2002 Games. Much of the competitions happened in our mountains near the capital city, but skating was inside at the then-Delta Center, hockey at the Utah Olympic Oval and opening and closing ceremonies at Rice-Eccles Stadium. There were other venues scattered around to share the economic love in many Utah cities. It was not too hard to get tickets to watch crazy people fly down tubes at the luge, jump off a ramp to (hopefully) land on two boards 800-plus feet later in the Nordic ski jump or sweep ice in front of 40-pound stones in curling.
We'd do well hosting Summer Games, too. We've got many indoor venues, lakes and rivers and, well, mountains. For the first time ever, athletes will compete in 2020 for medals in climbing in three disciplines: bouldering, sport and speed climbing. The national governing body for rock athletes, USA Climbing, was relocated to SLC last year, and athletes are training around town and in our mountains. Bouldering is climbing on real or fake rocks without ropes. In sport climbing, anchors are fixed to the rock, climbs are less than 30 meters, are super steep and you're timed on speed and difficulty of the climb. You'll be hearing more about this and other newly added events (karate, skateboarding and surfing) as our athletes compete in events before the big show in Japan.